BEST OF PORTLAND: SCHOOL OF ROCK
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) The prodigious School of Rock kids are capable of tackling virtually any band in the world, but tonight they're doing something they've never done before: performing songs exclusively by Portland bands. It's a benefit for PDX Pop Now! and PROWUS music scholarships, and that would make it special enough, but members of Portland bands will be sitting in with the teenage musicians, making this a once-in-a-lifetime show. And look at who'll be playing with the School of Rock kids: members of Menomena, the Thermals, M. Ward, Red Fang, Laura Veirs, Typhoon, Blitzen Trapper, the Dandy Warhols, YACHT, Danava, Radiation City, Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Mean Jeans, Ancient Heat, and Nether Regions. Holy cow. It's the biggest show to date from the Portland chapter of the School of Rock, and it'll close out with an all-ages dance party hosted by '80s Video Dance Attack. I'd tell you this is a must see, but you've probably figured that out already. NL
BIG ASS BOOMBOX
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th; Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th; Floating World Comics, 400 NW Couch; SoHiTek Records, 625 NW Everett) We're talking 20 bands spread out over four downtown venues, all but one of which is all ages. And it's completely free? We're talking 'bout Big Ass Boombox, perhaps the coolest idea of 2012 so far, in which local bands like Pigeons, Sons of Huns, Blue Skies for Black Hearts (and more!) hit a cluster of venues all within easy walking distance, and all for no scratch at all! NED LANNAMANN Also, read our article on Big Ass Boombox festival.
STANKHOUSE RECORDS THREE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY: THE HOODED HAGS, BIG BLACK CLOUD, PSYCHIC FELINE, GAYDOLF SHITLER
(The Alleyway, 2415 NE Alberta) It would be disturbing if the only enduring portrayal of life now in Portland were urban utopia. Thankfully, a label called Stankhouse has been chronicling another sonic history entirely, one in which the unconvinced, pissed-off, and fucked-up embrace the paradox that life is a party and we are doomed. For their role in developing and preserving a place for this music, we are indebted to the people of Stankhouse, who show no signs of stopping as they celebrate their third anniversary and latest release: the mutant-pop "Exxon Baby" 7-inch from the Hooded Hags. Along with Big Black Cloud—with whom the label began and with whom it evolves—and friends, the Hags kick off the label's next chapter on this blessed day of dissonance. MARANDA BISH
COCK BLOCK: J. PHLIP, THE PERFECT CYN, MISS VIXEN
(Groove Suite, 440 NW Glisan) The newest EP from J.Phlip (Jessica Phillipe) is called "Barbary Coast," a reference to the red-light district in San Francisco where prostitution, gambling, and various other activities involving loose women and lawless men thrived in the mid and late 19th century. Tracks like "Bootyberg" and "Big Ass, Party Hat" typify J.Phlip's style with huge basslines that pull inspiration from Miami ghettotech and Detroit electro, but maintain a signature sound that is equal parts don't-give-a-fuck and get-your-booty-lower-now. The combination of seriously broken-up beats and a silly attitude has put J.Phlip right in line with Dirtybird Records labelmates like Claude Von Stroke and the Martin Brothers. Tonight J.Phlip plays as part of Cock Block, an all-women DJ party that hasn't seen a slow night on the dance floor since its inception about six months ago. AVA HEGEDUS
FU MANCHU, LORD DYING, WITCHBURN
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Like marijuana, stoner rock will probably always be with us. And that's comforting. That a band like Fu Manchu can sustain a 25-year career brings one a sense of stability in this volatile world. The SoCal group doesn't scale the dizzying heights of Kyuss or Monster Magnet, but over 10 albums they've created a solid body of work with few seeds or stems. Burly, furry riffage descended from Black Sabbath and Deep Purple buttressed by boogie-funk rhythms is a formula as recession-proof as pizza... and weed. Fu Manchu reliably delivers those heavy, hedonistic vibes like some kind of Pagliacci of stoner rock—but without the cheese. Tonight they perform all of 1996's In Search of... DAVE SEGAL
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